Altar of Perversion Intra Naos (2018)

Altar of Perversion return with Intra Naos, a post-black metal album taking this limited and confused style to its best, though still inefficient, results. We start by stating that this is not a black metal album because it is not a metal album in the first place, although its instrumentation, general use of imagery and screetched vocals may give us cause to think it is. Rather than being based on actual riffs to form phrases which themselves give rise to a sequence of flows [1], Intra Naos displays the shortcomings of what we have in the past characterized wallpaper black metal [2]. The overall experience of the album is one of somnolescence brought about by the lack of musical content in an extremely long recording full of ‘sounds’.

In the particular case of Altar of Perversion’s new album, the wallpaper reference means that sections are based on the rock technique of chord outlining, being dragged out through time by repeating small bits of chord-tones across the frequency spectrum. Most melodies in the present album are little more than three-note patterns repeated ad nauseam, and so simply constitute another layer in a sonic wallpaper tower. Stylistically, when creating the longer melodies that become the salient points in an ocean of sameness, we see sometimes the band flirt with a kind of Mortuary Drape influenced Scooby-Doo chase music. Fortunately, this is kept at a minimum, sublimated under the purposes and overall schemes of Altar of Perversion.

That the album is painstakingly crafted is not denied, but effort does not necessarily pay off on its own, and four layers of stringed instruments (being three guitars and a bass often heard going on its own to produce contrast for distraction) arranged does not guarantee an efficient result. In fact, because the parts are seemingly made to fill up space in the frequency spectrum, they are often chord-noise, so to call it, while very basic, short themes are used to create the only coherent link throughout the pieces. Unfortunately, the full power of motifs for creation through variation and creation of strong themes is not explored by virtue of following the post-metal chord-mist approach instead of the metal riff-phrase one.

At its best, Intra Naos does show a strong perception and will towards creation of flows in and between different sections, and this is something that the listener can clearly feel. The problem is that the production of the necessary fluxions in each section is arrested by the drawn-out, diffused technique of wallpaper post-metal. It is incumbent here to repeat that the strong phrasal-riff of underground metal has proven to be not only the core of the intended genre and its power, but the most efficiacious way for it to transmit and communicate.

The album has a great production-sound, and the instruments all come through clearly and have an amazingly pleasant sound. Presumably, a lot of this has to do with the tuning being purposefully chosen for the instruments [3]. In the album’s favor, and despite our disagreement with post-black metal methods as a method towards depth, the layering of parts and the attention to bringing back motifs in different layers is actually done with due attention to craft. The musicians are obviously profficient in instrumental performance and appear to be, moreover, involved esotericists.

The latter brings us to the hidden and true highlight of this release: the lyrics. In these, a whole cosmogony is explored spanning different ancient mythologies and funneling into a newer and darker labyrinth. Unlike other modern esoteric formulations, this appears to be an evolution of older traditions, as if it were living. Although wordy and making dense references that require the reader to both research and decipher, the resulting outlook appears focused and trasnformation oriented: Nietzschean in action and timeless in contrast to the flabby, empty and vain occultism or theism of most black metal bands (or so-called ‘entities’, as they like to call their musical projects).

Alongside with the visual stimulation of its enigmatic front cover image, the lyrics of Intra Naos could be read while keeping the music on as soundtrack. The whole experience brings the lyrics to the forefront, and reveals them as the central actor. At the same time, the music fulfills a role for which it is actually apt: as background modifier for moods and ideas more efficiently transmitted through words. If impaired as a pure and evocative listening experience, the present album may work in a compound listening experiment that helps the listener direct attention and organize content [4].

In the final analysis, Altar of Perversion Intra Naos is highly inneficient music that is better suited as a platform for the lyrics. The root of this dilema might lie in that this project might have been brought about with the intention of channeling the ideas in a cosmology, first and foremost, with the actual craft of music being subservient to the conceptual abstraction. But art is seldom a good mistress: she asks for total devotion, and through that devotion it is she that channels the artist’s dark, unconscious essence.

Notes

[1] See the article Black Fluxions: http://www.deathmetal.org/article/black-fluxions/

[2] See the article A case study in wallpaper black metal and a discussion of its apologetics: http://www.deathmetal.org/article/wallpaper-black-metal-apologetics/

[3] See Bardo Methodology’s interview with Altar of Perversion: http://www.bardomethodology.com/articles/2018/03/20/altar-of-perversion-interview/

[4] See the article Exploring Metal Music Through Active Imagination Techniques: http://www.deathmetal.org/article/exploring-music-through-active-imagination-techniques/

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13 thoughts on “Altar of Perversion Intra Naos (2018)”

  1. Satan akbar says:

    like in your traditional black metal article maybe you shouldn’t be so narrow minded and accept this new form of living traditionalism and not reject it cause it doesn’t fit your standards

    1. D.A.R.G. says:

      As was discussed in said article, living traditionalism implies evolving towards higher efficiency, taking the best and what works, to create more potent methods.

      Altar of Perversion have gradually chosen not the strongest and most efficient aspects of metal (or black metal), but rather the more diffuse, confused, and unclear through the use of old rock techniques in the post-metal method that has time and again failed to produce meaningful detail.

      Furthermore, Intra Naos does not display any “new form”, but instead a rather tired and extremely limited (musically) trope that became popular in the 21st century through occult-themed pseudo-black metal (including post-black metal). It certainly shows no connection as an evolution of the strongest aspects of a metal tradition.

      Our standards are chosen because they conform to reality, and they will continue to be refined as our imperfect vision gets corrected. We do not reject Intra Naos: we simply comment on its shortcomings as a purely musical affair.

      Said criticism is not based on arbitrary standards, but on the fact that it does not reflect the best course of action for metal in respect to reality (what music is, how it is constructed, how it achieves meaning and transmits power and will, etc.).

      1. Satan akbar says:

        you said it was not a metal album then you say you dont reject it? its like saying you cant come in the house but you cant sit on the drive way i hope those hacks take this webside down for good

        1. D.A.R.G. says:

          We say we don’t reject it because we are not here to reject anything. We simply comment according to an informed, cultured and realist standard for metal music.

          We recognize that metal is a musical genre, and as such it follows patterns that identify it. Altar of Perversion Intra Naos clearly displays the traits of a certain kind of rock music that is specific and distinct from metal. It does not display the traits that have historically defined metal in the musical sense.

          1. Satan akbar says:

            your are not here to reject anything? so all is included now like nu metal and inflames type metal? i think i found some hypocrisy there almost with a crowdist mentality. the seems are coming undone

            1. D.A.R.G. says:

              There is no hipocrisy at all: we have repeatedly commented on the defficiency and poverty of nu metal and “inflames type metal”.

              After we give our informed, cultured and realist commentary on the music, it is up to the reader to reject or accept music based on their own judgement, for better or for worse.

            2. S.C. says:

              Haha you’re trying so hard to find holes where there are none. The article and D.A.R.G’s responses are quite consistent.

  2. I rarely step into the public foray, but here I think my opinion might add to the analysis. I agree, and have actually said to a few people at this point that the album in question “is not Black Metal,” though whilst owning a physical of the double disk and given time and more time to let the lister relationship germinate (how can you not, an extremely hyped double disk, 2 hours of length, popular subjects…), I have resolved that this music in its *yes* rock-orientation, and *yes* post-rock orientation, and *yes* artsy-farsty mapping, hyping and inward turning, is reminiscent of what the 1990’s might call “Dark Metal,” that is, proto-post-Black Metal, and varies between genres without boundary, including many slow to funereal tempos, and extended drawn out riffing that acts not just as a Nightbringer-upgrade, but as an ensorcelling spell. There are stylistic curiosities, for instance the DMDS-era Varg basslines, or the Gorguts flang between the tremolo riffing. Albeit I must readily admit that my capacity to review is limited and amateurish at best, but that just means I will have to resort to different words. A practitioner of the ONA tradition will feel in 2018 a necessity to capture an exemplar of this album, though it is not the first of its kind. Blood Stained Dusk and Clandestine Blaze have their respective histories with the occult group in question.

    INTRA NAOS is interesting because it is a challenging listen. Not in the older way of “what the hell am I hearing” in terms of production, but rather “what the hell is the point.” INTRA NAOS does take cues from the latterly calibrated genre of Black Metal, and for a renaissance site like DM.org, yes it will fall short of the Mark, but to the filth-dripping WaitAIDS fans that oversaturate the fan base, this is a call to betterment, surely more so than the typic NSBM program, and nowhere near degenerate as the alcoholic-thrash of D666.

    What is profound is that AoP have reinvented themselves in the language of Black Metal-today, like it or not. Quite a task for an elder outfit born in the mix of the War Metal cum-era. This is an achievement – particularly so for a group that establishes itself in practical occultism that is posied to breed leadership roles for individuals of influence.

    8/10, the best neo-Black Metal I own. Far better than Nightbringer, Aosoth, or any other dissonance-reliant band.

    1. D.A.R.G. says:

      Thank you for your insightful comment.
      I only wanted to clarify/highlight that:

      > I agree on several fronts here, and this is why I pointed out to the reader the importance of the lyrics and the whole imagery, reference to mythology and the need to decipher even more.

      > Also, and perhaps I did not emphasize this clearly: Intra Naos really is by far the best album in this style that I have ever listened to (and yes, that includes my experience with Nightbringer and Aosoth, which I was also thinking about).

      1. D.A.R.G.,

        It’s always a pleasure to enter the critical analysis field alongside one another. Excellent subject.

  3. Marc Defranco says:

    I tried to give this album a listen but the length is too daunting. I prefer shorter albums like Pentagram and Antichrist. Completely trimmed down to only what’s necessary but still able to express a lot. Longest albums I go for are some Summoning albums

  4. neutronhammer says:

    Who cares as long as it looks cool on Instagram

  5. Will says:

    Since most of my comments on this blog are dead-end shit talking, I feel compelled to note that the recent content from D.A.R.G. is refreshingly consistent with the unique and valuable vision and purpose of this site. Thank you, your efforts are appreciated.

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